Yes, your home inspection can go totally off the rails. 

You’d think it was among the simplest of tasks to check off once you’ve had an offer accepted for a home you hope to buy. The home inspection. But like anything else, this can go really wrong if you don’t use good sense along the way.

Let’s look at all the ways that is possible.

Not having one at all. Just as cars can come off a production line eventually deemed “lemons,” houses can too, even if they are new. Did you get into a multiple bid frenzy and remove the contingency for a home inspection? It’s not as uncommon as it used to be and while Realtors warn against it, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t inspect what you expect. Have one anyway, at best for your peace of mind and at worst to face how many repairs might be in your future if you proceed with the sale.

Being a cheapskate. Comparing prices for home inspectors is also like anything else you cut corners on: you get what you pay for. When considering spending a few hundred extra dollars for a reputable inspector referred to you by your Realtor or with high marks on Yelp!, also consider how many thousands of dollars are at stake when you close on this home. How long did it take you to save up for that down payment?

Being missing in action. What? You think simply reading the inspection report after the fact suffices? If you can’t be present for the inspection, at a minimum have your Realtor or a family member accompany the inspector on his tour as he checks electrical circuits, runs bathtub faucets, and uses his flashlight to see obscured areas and hunt for ceiling stains. Being a pain. Don’t be a nudge about it. Asking the inspector questions is fine; sometimes he or she will offer sage advice and even share horror stories with you about what might happen if you fail to get something repaired. But don’t get in the way or make the inspection ten times as long as it should be.

Expecting the home to be flawless. A house, like a person, settles and breathes as it ages. We won’t tell you something major won’t be found, but most of the time, what is found can be handled. Replacing some roof tiles, digging a trench so the foundation is protected from an onslaught of water, fixing an uneven floor — all of these things are fixable at a price that may be negotiated with the owner. After all, they would probably come up again in a subsequent inspection, so if you have a motivated seller, chances are good they will work with you and not against you on most of this. And if the house is brand spanking new and has items that need attention either before or after move in, when the new home warranty is still in place, this will make the home builder snap to attention, since we’ll assume they won’t want a reputation for shoddily-built homes.

Source: Realtor.com, TBWS

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